Former Vice President Dick Cheney once again parted ways with his conservative compadres on the hot topic of gay marriage, saying people -- gay or straight -- should be free to pursue any type of union they wish.
"I think that freedom means freedom for everyone," said Cheney, whose daughter, Mary, has publicly admitted she's a lesbian.
"As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family," Cheney said Monday at the Gerald R. Ford Foundation journalism awards at the National Press Club.
"I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish," the former vice president said, according to the the Huffington Post reported.
The pro-gay marriage stance isn't new for Cheney, who during his 2004 campaign with former President George W. Bush made a nearly word-for-word declaration that all types of relationships should be acceptable.
The timing, however, makes his latest speech particularly significant -- it comes just after California's top court refused to overturn the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage and as the GOP continues to remain split over the issue. John McCain's campaign manager Steve Schmidt and Bush recount lawyer Ted Olsen have both publicly argued in support of gay marriage, but the Republican religious right continues to fight against homosexual unions.
Cheney also repeated his view Monday that gay marriage should be regulated at the state level rather than by Washington.
"The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to [define marriage as between a man and a woman], I don't support," Cheney said. "It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis."
President Barack Obama has said that he supports gay and lesbian unions but that he'll stick by the definition of marriage as a heterosexual union.